image via TRBuisness
Cancer. It’s a scary word and unfortunately 1 in 8 women will have to face developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Cancer does not discriminate against age, skin color, or sex (yes, men can develop breast cancer too). A classmate of mine, Ashley Daniel, passed away from breast cancer in her early twenties; you are not immune. I don’t say this to scare you, but in the hopes to make you aware of the realities of what too many people are up against with cancer.
October is national breast cancer awareness month and I am honored to be apart of my hometown’s united fight against cancer with their yearly event Pink Up The Pace. Founded by breast cancer survivors, the Pink Up The Pace 5k walk/run raises money to fund imaging services and increase public awareness on the importance of early detection. It’s an amazing community resource and I encourage you to look in to your own community resources and provide assistance where you can.
image via Pink Up The Pace
Read about Ashley’s heroic journey here.
With it almost being breast cancer awareness month, I thought I’d honor cancer survivors and fighters both past and present. Please take a few precious moments to educate yourself and perform a monthly breast self-exam.
There is no guaranteed method of protection against breast cancer, however, there are several preventative measures you can take to lower your risk. When detected early, breast cancer survival rate is greater than 92%.
6 Breast Cancer Prevention Tips
- Don’t Smoke – A Canadian study suggests that women who start smoking at a young age have a 20% higher chance of developing breast cancer. The risk rises to 30% for those who have smoked for multiple years.
- Limit Alcohol – According to the American Cancer Society, a woman who drinks 2-5 alcoholic drinks per day is one and a half times more likely to develop breast cancer.
- Have a Conscious Diet – A healthy balanced diet decreases your risk of breast cancer; choose one that incorporates lean protein, grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise – Strive for a light to moderate exercise routine, such as walking, for 30 minutes a day five days a week. No long gym session required. Exercising regularly can decrease your risk by 15-25%.
- Measure Your BMI – Maintain a Body Mass Index (BMI) lower than 25. You can achieve your ideal BMI through a healthy diet and exercise. Calculate your BMI here.
- Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding produces the hormone prolactin, which lowers the amount of estrogen in a woman. The longer a woman breastfeeds over her lifetime, the more protected she becomes from developing breast cancer.
Women aged 40 and over are encouraged to have a yearly mammogram preformed and continue to do so for as long as she is in good health.
- What is a mammogram? A mammogram is an x-ray exam that evaluates changes in breast tissue. It screens for breast cancer in women with or without symptoms. Symptoms may include a lump or pain in the breast. For more information on how a mammogram is preformed visit here.
Women in their 20’s and 30’s should have their health professional conduct a clinical breast exam as apart of her periodic health exam, preferably every three years. This gives women the opportunity to discuss any breast changes, early detecting testing and factors that may affect the risk of developing breast cancer. Women should promptly tell their health professional of any new breast symptoms.
Breast Self Exam
Starting in their 20’s women should perform a monthly breast self-exam, preferably right after their period. Get to know how your breasts normally look and feel, and notice any changes. It only takes a few minutes a month and can increase your chances of early detection if any changes are found. Follow along with SoulCycle’s easy guide to monthly breast self-exams and sign up for monthly text reminders here.
image via Glamour
Changes To Be Aware Of
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Nipple pain or retraction (turning inward)
- Redness or scaliness of nipple or skin
- Discharge other than breast milk
If you notice any of these changes, promptly report them to your health professional
Together we can fight cancer and work towards a cancer free world. Educate yourself, your mothers and your daughters, as well as your sons and fathers. You can create a personalized Early Detection Plan through the National Breast Cancer Foundation and don’t forget to spread awareness not only in October, but year round. I encourage you to get involved and help fight back against cancer. Lets stand united and give a giant eff you to breast cancer!
Stay proactive friends!
Please visit the following for more information on breast cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.
American Cancer Society / National Breast Cancer Foundation
National Cancer Institute / Susan G. Komen For The Cure
Resources: Urbane Women // American Cancer Society
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